Rebel Girls

Special thanks to Civil War historian Bruce Nichols at for sharing this interesting story!


During mid to late September 1862 two local ladies, Misses Mildred Elizabeth "Lizzie" Powell and Margaret "Maggie" Creath, used a carriage to travel from Monroe County to Hannibal, Marion County, and purchase 50,000 percussion caps for the guerrillas or Rebel recruits of the area. These young women were bedecked in "rebel colors", wearing pistols and traveled in the company of guerrilla or Rebel recruiter CPT Clay Price while giving speeches in support of the Confederacy around Monroe County.  

Union authorities in the area had no choice but to arrest the attractive but spirited pair in late September and placed them in a form of house arrest at Elder Creath's home. They were permitted this form of parole provided they "abstain from writing and talking treason". No guards were placed over them provided they follow those directions. Later, Miss Powell was permitted to remain at liberty provided she remain in the town of Hannibal. Eventually the pair was banished from the state, probably in 1863 when that became a favorite method of handling troublesome southern citizens in Missouri. 


“…two noted Confederates were captured. They were accused of conveying information and of furnishing arms and ammunition to the Rebels. There may have been some truth to the charge brought against them. ‘The story goes, that beautiful and highly educated, and enthusiastic Rebels “borrowed” a brand new five-hundred dollar carriage from a citizen, friendly with the cause, and no escort, except for a negro boy, for the “driver” went to Hannibal some sixty miles distance, safely returning in a few days, the carriage loaded with ammunition, navy revolvers, and other needful supplies for the Rebels. The supplies were safely hidden away, and the Federals only succeeded in capturing the carriage, which they confiscated, and the girls. These they held, separately, in solitary confinement for some time, in an old church of the neighborhood, they sent them as prisoners to Hannibal, finally banishing them from the state.” 


Missouri State Militia

December 13, 1862

HQ Second Cavalry

Brigadier-General Merrill;

Commanding Northeastern District of Missouri. 


I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your order of the 12th ordering full statement of causes of arrest of Misses Lizzie Powel and Maggie Creath and a report of the manner of their confinement. Having no official connection with these young ladies or control over their detention I called upon Colonel Strachan, late provost-marshal general of their district, whose reply I have the honor to (enclose). The active disloyalty of these two women is notorious and their beauty, talents and superior education have made many a man a bushwhacker who except for their influence would have been an honest man. They are even openly and persistently disloyal. I regard them as each of sufficient importance to either justify a strict (surveillance) or banishment from the state. 

I have the honor to be your (obedient) servant, 

John McNeil

Brigadier-General, Missouri State Militia 


Palmyra, Missouri

December 13, 1862 

General McNeil: 

Sir, In answer to your inquiries about Misses Powell and Creath, the evidence sent to the office from Doctor Hueston, near Santa Fe, I think, and several others, established that these young ladies had taken a carriage of Armstead Botts of Monroe County, driven it to Hannibal and brought out under the protection of the petticoat flag a (quantity) of gun caps, some 50,000 and other essentials to the guerillas.

Miss Creath made quite a sensation in Monroe County, traveling with one Clay Price, a noted captain of guerillas, dressed in rebel colors and a brace of rebel pistols ornamenting her taper waist. Their influence, being young ladies of large talking propensities, was particularly pernicious, they openly declaring that they acknowledge the authority of no Government but that of “Jeff Davis, the noblest and wisest man that ever graced a presidential chair.” Their causes were submitted by me to Colonel Grant, provost-marshal general and he advised their banishment from the State, but gave me no written order to that effect. The manner of their detention has been on their personal parole that they abstain from writing and talking treason. They remained at the home of Elder Creath without guard and Miss Powell has since been allowed the liberty of Hannibal, her native town.

I am, very respectfully, 

William R. Strachan

Provost-Marshall, Palmyra. 

Sources: "O.R." series 2, vol. 5, p. 78; C.M. Farthing, "Chronicles of Monroe County," 1904 as reprinted in 1997, pp. 29-30; Missouri Chapter of United Daughters of the Confederacy, "Reminiscences," about 1913, pp. 149-183.